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Aug 17 2012

I won’t be visiting Russia any time soon

A hooligan like me would certainly be thrown in prison:

Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been jailed for two years after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

Judge Marina Syrova convicted the women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, saying they had “crudely undermined social order”.

The women say the protest, in February, was directed at the Russian Orthodox Church leader’s support for Mr Putin.

Judge Syrova said Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, had offended the feelings of Orthodox believers and shown a “complete lack of respect”.

“Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich committed hooliganism – in other words, a grave violation of public order,” she said.

What was this horrific act of hooliganism?

Along with other members of their band, the women staged a flashmob-style performance of their song close to the altar in the cathedral on 21 February.

Their brief, obscenity-laced performance, which implored the Virgin Mary to “throw Putin out”, enraged the Orthodox Church – its leader Patriarch Kirill said it amounted to blasphemy.

Yep. Two years in jail because you dared to swear, mention some religious figures, and speak about a theoretically democratic election. I know the US is fucked up, but at least I don’t get thrown in prison when I say FUCK THE CHURCH.

Hopefully something positive happens with their appeal, and hopefully even more international pressure is put on Russia. Not that I’m expecting much coming from the US. Can you imagine Obama having to defend a blasphemous band called Pussy Riot during an election season?

22 comments

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  1. 1
    Nikoel

    Plus Moscow banned gay pride celebrations for 100 years.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19293465

  2. 2
    Forbidden Snowflake

    This just in from the Department of Oblivious Irony: Christian church demands harshest punishment available for rioting in a temple.

  3. 3
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Well, I made this. x.x

  4. 4
    Erin Winslow

    Hell, back when I lived in the US, I used to run around shouting “smash the church, smash the state, we women will decide our fate!”

  5. 5
    Weaver

    Not exactly. They refused to grant a 100-year permit – thus requiring (for now, at least) that organizers seek a new permit each year. That’s not the same as saying there cannot be any gay pride parades for the next 100 years.

  6. 6
    Rebecca W

    It’s a sad day for freedom. I really hope something comes out of the international attention and the local campaigning.

    I know a lot of the time people use the expression “how can this still happen in this day and age, it’s 2012!” but if we are still around in a 100 years, and shit is better then, I always wonder if they’ll look back at all the failures and say “well it was only 2012, they were pretty ignorant fuckers back then….”

    Too optimistic?

  7. 7
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    @Forbidden Snowflake:

    I hadn’t made that connection. Oh my.

  8. 8
    Forbidden Snowflake

    …and the Church isn’t even “the temple” in this analogy: they’re the traders, and the (nominally) secular state is the temple.

  9. 9
    elronxenu

    Ha ha ha, oh that’s a good one.

  10. 10
    Hillary

    FWIW, according to this report, the Russian Orthodox Church is asking authorities to “show mercy” on Pussy Riot. From everything I can tell, this whole case is more political retribution masking itself in religious outrage than anything else. Reading between the lines, it seems to me that even the church doesn’t think that the secular legal action against religious offenses was entirely appropriate.

  11. 11
    Forbidden Snowflake

    After they’ve been busy calling for PR’s heads for a few months, that seems like belated pious posturing, after the Church has finally realized that vindictive braying makes them look kinda bad.
    Not impressed at all.

  12. 12
    Woozle

    The State Department has, in fact, issued a statement about the matter:

    The United States is concerned about both the verdict and the disproportionate sentences handed down by a Moscow court in the case against the members of the band Pussy Riot and the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia.

    We urge Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld.

    They announced it on their G+ account, too.

    Related: Chicago Tribune

  13. 13
    Kristie

    So glad I found this information.

  14. 14
    Jackal

    Amnesty International is hosting a petition calling for the release of the jailed women and the investigation into the threats that their families and lawyers have received. Please sign and share.

  15. 15
    Francisco Bacopa

    Here’s a helpful list of Russian Consulates:

    http://www.russianembassy.net/iservice.nsf/namerica

    So of you are in NY, DC, Houston, Seattle, or San Francisco, you know where to go.

    Police response times are very slow at 5 AM on Sunday. Bring spray paint.

  16. 16
    ospalh

    They surely are rich enough.
    The Patriarch Kirill is this guy:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/06/world/europe/in-russia-a-watch-vanishes-up-orthodox-leaders-sleeve.html

  17. 17
    jamesfish

    I couldn’t believe how well they kept their composure throughout all this, particularly when you consider the sort of place they’ll probably end up.

  18. 18
    kaliif

    Not even in Russia (which is probably one of the most messed up places in the world) is a religious organisation in a position to sentence someone in prison for an insult. So you can freely go to Russia and tell the church to fornicate itself, you hooligan. What they did was piss of the big chief and the location of their protest just gave him an excuse.

  19. 19
    Sandiseattle

    While I’m certain this is more about Putin flexing his politial muscles, I do think they could have protest elsewhere and still been just as effective. They have every right to express themselves, but maybe outside the church next time.

  20. 20
    Forbidden Snowflake

    But why? If the church uses its influence to endorse political candidates and is in turn bolstered by the government, why should it be off limits to people protesting against the government?

  21. 21
    H.H.

    Yeah, Ophelia has a few things to say about that:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/08/we-did-forgive-them-from-the-very-start/

  22. 22
    jamesskaar

    i’ve got a friend in russia that’s at risk with the current idiocy, i spose everyone by now knows what’s been going on, but, i don’t understand why she wants to escape the persecution… by moving to the states…

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